We’re now a week into the 2022 regular season, and these first games have delivered some electric performances. From a future Hall of Famer adding another brilliant performance (and lots of conversation) to a surprise hot streak, we have your news right here.
A Vintage Kershaw Performance – and Some Controversy?
Clayton Kershaw was perfect on Wednesday — literally. The 33-year-old southpaw was cruising through 7 perfect innings against the Minnesota Twins when Dave Roberts made the decision to pull him from the game. At only 80 pitches, the decision spurred various debates around social media on whether or not Kershaw should have continued. This controversy was heightened when statistics like this were pulled out:
The last time a pitcher got pulled out of a perfect game after 7 innings and only 80 pitches thrown was never.
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) April 13, 2022
Outrage ensued. Many hoped to see the Dodgers legend go for the rare feat, and felt betrayed when Roberts made the decision to pull him. This brought up other conversations about the dangers of a shortened spring training, the reality of how long a pitcher should be left on the mound, and some good old “back in my day” conversations. However, Kershaw himself admitted he wasn’t upset in a conversation with reporter Kirsten Watson.
Most importantly, Kershaw had an excellent performance that resembled his Cy Young days. 7 innings, 0 hits, 0 walks, and 13 strikeouts! Not to be overshadowed by the debate, this was an excellent opening performance for Kershaw and proved that an injury and Father Time can’t stop his immense talent.
Spencer Torkelson Smacks His First Homer
We’ve seen some exciting debuts so far this year. Hunter Greene was slinging 100 mph fastballs. Seiya Suzuki is quickly winning over baseball fans from every division. Yet one notable name has gotten off to a quieter start. Spencer Torkelson, the first pick of the 2020 draft, struggled out of the gate for the Detroit Tigers but is starting to show some life.
In the bottom of the 7th against the Boston Red Sox, Torkelson connected with a high fastball for a long home run to the left-field stands. Though he had taken a few walks and gotten his first hit on April 12th, Torkelson made a statement with his first long ball and first RBI. Torkelson is a well-regarded rookie who is believed to be the future of first base in Detroit. This is a great sign for Tigers fans and baseball fans alike, as we usher in new faces who will (hopefully) dazzle for years to come.
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) April 13, 2022
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is STILL Mashing
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is an incredible talent. You will be reading that sentence for at least the next 10 years. And it will always be valid, as the 23-year-old star is hoping to follow up on a great 2021 season that placed him second in MVP voting. The performance seemed legit, but many wondered if the young masher could maintain this excellence.
It seems like he definitely can. Guerrero Jr. had quite the game in the Bronx, as he went 4/4 with 3 R, 3 HR, and 4 RBI. Two of those three home runs came after Aaron Hicks landed on Guerrero Jr.’s hand during a play at first and drew blood. Guerrero Jr. decided that wouldn’t get him down, and became the second-youngest player in MLB history to have two career 3-HR games. Please enjoy this video of the third of Vladdy’s homers:
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 14, 2022
With a Swing and a Miss…the Streak is Gone
If you’ve been following baseball, you’ve heard the name Steven Kwan. Heck, we can’t stop writing about him over here at Pitcher List. The 24-year-old phenom left fielder for the Guardians has been all over the timeline with his wonderful quotes and his historic streak of not swinging and missing through his first five MLB games. Unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end.
We mourn the loss of Steven Kwan's incredible streak.
— Cleveland Guardians (@CleGuardians) April 13, 2022
Don’t get it twisted — Kwan is still batting .526 and earned an RBI in the Guardians’ 7-3 win over Cincinnati. The Guardians sport a 4-2 record in part to this performance thus far. However, it would be insensitive for me not to pay respects to the end of a legendary streak. R.I.P.
Colorado Rockies Are Currently the Best Team in the NL
You read that right. A week into the season, the Colorado Rockies have the best winning percentage in the National League at .800 with a 4-1 record. Is this a ridiculously small sample size? Absolutely. Can we still celebrate a hot start from the Rockies and highlight their players? 100%. The Rockies have been playing solid baseball, taking two out of three from the Dodgers and sweeping the Texas Rangers in a two-game series at Globe Life Field.
Colorado has been solid all around to start the season. C.J. Cron, Elias Díaz, Connor Joe, Kris Bryant, and José Iglesias are all batting .300 or higher. Germán Márquez looked solid, giving up 1 run and earning 5 strikeouts in seven innings against the Dodgers. The bullpen has been holding it down, with 6 relievers having a perfect 0.00 ERA so far. And if you missed it, this robbery by Randal Grichuk was jaw-dropping.
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) April 13, 2022
The reality is that the Rockies likely won’t keep this up in the strong NL West. But, it’s still fun and important to note and celebrate! The Colorado loyal need something to cheer for after years of offseason headaches and drama. So, for now, let’s talk about how fun this Rockies team has been to watch and crown our current kings of the National League. They start a four-game series with the Cubs today, and we’ll see if they can keep the magic going.
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)